July 15, 1938

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They thought they were clever.

And they were, in a way, but not nearly enough.

I was in the middle of a stairwell when the stairs flattened and gave way, transforming themselves into a short slide that delivered me into the center of an exact replica of my private study at home.

It took me only a moment to recover my senses and less than ten minutes after that to ascertain that almost everything was there.

How foolish were they?

Did they think this room would upset me?

For a moment, it did.

The unmistakable scent of my dead wife, a perfect blend of lilacs and a fall breeze, stung my nose and caused me to falter as I crossed the room.

But within a heartbeat, I had recovered.

She was dead, and no other could take her place.

I went to my desk, found a decent bottle of bourbon and took a long, hard pull from it. The sweet sting of the liquor cleared my mind, and I sat back on my haunches to reach beneath my desk. There, off to one side, was a small compartment. From it, I drew forth a box of .44 caliber shells and restocked my Colts and the belt before slipping the box into my haversack. Then, from a drawer, I retrieved a curved Greek pruning knife, a gift from an old friend and one that I was glad to see.

With a flick of my wrist, the blade snapped open and closed just as easily.

I’d only ever used it on my apple trees before, but I was sufficiently disgruntled to prune some lives with it.

I spent an hour searching the room until I came upon a door they had crafted behind one of the bookcases, and it took me but a moment’s work to get it open.

The man standing on the other side of it was surprised to see me, but that surprise died as the hooked blade caught in his throat, the metal severing flesh and slipping between the bones with ease.

His head tumbled to one side, his body to the other, and a great fountain of blood sprayed over the walls.

Wiping blood splatter from my face, I kicked his head out of the way and started up another set of stairs.

#horror #fear #paranormal

Published by

Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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